Stockholm The night view from the living room.

 

Stockholm The balcony view of the park.

 

It’s been a crazy busy couple of weeks.  On October 3, we got the keys to our new apartment–the first place we have owned in Stockholm. Then on Tuesday, the movers brought in our stuff from the three different storage units that have been housing our worldly goods for the last few months. (Confession: We have actually have had one of the storage units for two years because all of our stuff did not fit into the last place.)

So now we are unpacking boxes, finding things we have not seen in years and figuring out where everything will fit into our new space. We have too much stuff, so we are trying to weed things out as we unpack. That feels good. And it also felt good to see things that I have not seen in a long time:  Dessert bowls and napkins from my grandmother Clara, paintings Robert and I created en plein air (on location outside) in California, photos of family and friends, the didgeridoo from outback Australia, quilts made by my Grandma Aleze. When I unfolded one of her quilts and saw the “handmade with love for Sandy and Robert from Grandma” label, I felt like I had really moved in.

After all, it’s these things–the objects, the memories, the history–that are making the new place feel like home, packing boxes and all, even though it’s more than 4,000 miles from my other home. And that feels good too. Plus, the new views aren’t so bad either.

Stockholm Boat traffic: The dining room view.

 

Stockholm Fog rolling in.

 

 

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Humlegarden There are still a lot of green leaves on the trees, but more and more are on the ground.

 

Stockholm The royal motorboat club.

 

Stockholm At Rosendals while it was still summer in mid September.

 

The change to autumn happened quickly. It always does in Stockholm.

Almost three weeks ago, it was sunny and warm. Then the next day it rained all day long and we landed squarely into autumn. And that is exactly where the weather has stayed. While I do love the change of season, I’ve never gotten used to how rapidly it switches when you live this far north.

That said, we have had some amazingly beautiful autumn weather. Hope you enjoy the photos!

 

Stockholm Rosendals garden. This year’s theme: colorful diversity.

 

Stockholm Flower garden at Rosendals.

 

Stockholm Rosehips.

 

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A taste of Stockholm

September 28, 2014

in Stockholm

Stockholm Silvia’s food truck was serving fresh pasta and porchetta sandwiches.

 

Stockholm Robert checks out the Love Truck. And yes, they were serving up food…

 

Stockholm Homemade burgers from Frick & Hagberg.

 

As we rapidly slide from summer into autumn here in Stockholm, I have been in the mood for cooking and baking.  Or maybe I’ve just been hungry and needing some kitchen inspiration?

Yesterday we went to Taste of Stockholm, a three-day culinary festival.  There were cooking classes and demonstrations, as well as food trucks and local restaurants serving up food. The evening was windy, so there weren’t so many people in the outside part of the festival where the food trucks were. That meant it was easy for us to walk right up and sample all sorts of things.

There were  trucks serving up foods of all types from all around the world, from hamburgers and pulled pork to samosas and coffee. (I’ve written before about the food trucks around Stockholm–now there’s a little fleet of them around town.) .

Robert and I sampled Hungarian and Italian wines, lax with mango salsa, a sichuan pork sous vide sandwich and an Indian kathi roll. For dessert, we had mini cupcakes. Good thing we walked home…

 

Stockholm Fresh ingredients.

 

Stockholm A cooking class in progress.

 

Stockholm I had a super tasty kathi roll with grilled chicken tikka, veggies and coriander yogurt from Indian Street Food.

 

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Rosendals A wheelbarrow full of apples at Rosendals.

 

Rosendals This ribston apple tree dates back to 1867.

 

Rosendals Sorting apples.

 

On Saturday, we walked to Rosendals Trädgård, a garden on the island of Djurgården. The garden dates back to 1817 and has fields of flowers and vegetables, greenhouses, an orchard, beehives, a vineyard, a bakery, a shop and a cafe. Specializing in biodynamic cultivation, Rodendals is a charming spot to go and wander the gardens or sit inside or out and have lunch or a pastry, a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.

The apple trees were laden with fruit and after we wandered around the orchard to check out the 40 varieties of trees–many dating back more than 100 years–we could not resist stopping into the store to buy some apples. And so then Sunday, I made an apple pie. While my mother is an extraordinary pie maker, I’ve never been so skilled in that department. But my friend Bryn’s recipe for a bourbon peach crumb-top pie was super easy to do and perfect for making with apples too. Oh my, that pie smelled amazing. And oh yes, it was good.

 

Rosendals Apple leftovers.

 

Rosendals Let us mature in peace, we will become pie and other treats in the cafe.

 

apple crumble The complete apple pie, fresh from the oven! (In our temporary apartment, I don’t have a pie pan.)

 

apple crumble Robert and I decided we had to sample the apples while they were still warm–yum!

 

 

 

 

 

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Rastaholms Vardhus A hamburger with a view.

 

Rastaholms vardus Nici and Roger admiring the view.

 

Lake Mälaren And the view.

 

Last weekend, I spent some time with my friends Nici and Roger. They live on a island called Ekerö which is located outside of Stockholm. When I go to their place, it always feels like a bit of a getaway adventure as it takes a while to get there and also because they live right on the water. It’s also one of my favorite places to go outside of the city. (You may remember that we always go to their home for midsummer parties.)

After being thoroughly lazy and hanging out on their jetty for hours, we smelled a neighbor’s charcoal grill. Simultaneously, we said: a hamburger would be about perfect right now. And that hamburger inclination was what finally got us to move off of the lounge chairs. We went to Rastaholms Värdshus, a lovely inn also situated right on Lake Mälaren in Ekerö.

The weather was sunny and warm and we were so happy to just enjoy the perfect view out over the water. But we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the burger was good– really good actually. And there were fun little touches like the ketchup and mustard in paper bags with handles and after we ordered, we were given a bag of popcorn.

And then the hamburgers. Well, mine was one of the best I’ve had in Sweden. The “hamburger plate” included the hamburger with onion rings on top, barbecue sauce and a bacon mayonnaise,  cheese, chili aioli, and potato chips that were so good that we decided they must be homemade.

Sometimes it is the simple things that can make you happy.

 

Rastaholms vardhus The view from the marina.

 

Ekero Rastaholms marina.

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Södermalm. Looking toward Södermalm.

 

It’s been way too long since I updated things here on my web site. We’ve been busy. It sounds lame, I know, even as I write it. But work has been busy, life has been busy. And after years of renting, Robert and I finally bought an apartment in central Stockholm. I’ve been kind of reluctant to talk about it all for a lot of reasons. For one, I’m kind of nervous that something will happen and things won’t work out. But that’s goofy, right?

It was a big  deal to us for a variety of reasons as it meant truly committing to living in this city and also because nothing comes cheap in this town. But we bit the bullet.

In October, we will be moving back to Södermalm, the lively, intriguing and cool island that we’ve spent most of our time in Stockholm living on. And you don’t have to just take my word on its cool factor:  Vogue magazine just chose it as no. 3 on its list of the world’s coolest neighborhoods. Here’s a bit of what they had to say: “In this day and age, “Cool” and “Stockholm” are essentially synonymous. Think: Acne Studios, long-lit summer nights, minimalistic armchairs. Imagine, then, how hip its coolest neighborhood must be.”

Imagine that.

Stay tuned.

 

Södermalm. The fountain at Mariatorget on Södermalm.

 

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University of Cincinnati McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. I spent a lot of time in this building.

 

University of Cincinnati Van Wormer Hall has had a green top added since I was there.

 

It’s been very change-of-seasony here in Stockholm over the last week or so, with sun turning to rain rather quickly. Today has been one of those chilly all day rain days and summer feels way too far away. So what better thing to do on a cool evening than to get nostalgic about summer?

While I was in Cincinnati, I met up with my friend Elissa from college and we drove around the University of Cincinnati and Clifton, the neighborhood that surrounds it. I used to live in this area, but have not been there in many years. As Elissa is a professor at the University of Cincinnati, she was up on all the changes and was happy to show me around. It was a hot summer night and storm clouds lingered in the sky.

Just looking at the photos, I can feel the summer heat. Almost.

 

Cincinnati The Esquire theater. I saw a lot of art-house movies there.

 

Cincinnati The Clifton and Ludlow Skyline Chili, a favorite late-night restaurant.

 

Cincinnati The Clifton fire station.

 

Cincinnati Clifton & Ludlow.

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Stockholm The bow of the boat was a perfect spot for relaxing in the sunshine.

 

Stockholm And also watching the clouds at sunset.

 

Stockholm Or even the storm clouds.

 

Stockholm Calm waters after the storm.

 

I’ve always thought I would like to live on the water. So when Robert surprised me last weekend with a stay on a boat, I was pretty happy. Actually what I said to the owners as they gave us the keys was: “The only problem for you is that I am not going to give you these back.”

And you know what? It was hard to give them back. I loved being directly on the water and seeing sail, motor and tourist boats, as well as kayaks, jet skis and fishermen go by. When a thunderstorm came up on Friday night, it was fantastic to watch it from just under the roof on the bow of the boat, seeing the water get choppy and the sky change colors. And it was relaxing to be gently rocked to sleep at night and to wake up to the sound of the sea gulls.

 

Stockholm Nici and Roger joined us for a BBQ with a view

 

Stockholm Nici and Robert, busy in the kitchen.

 

Stockholm The living room.

 

It was also nice to share the boat with friends and we had a small BBQ on Friday evening. And then on Saturday night, Robert hosted a birthday dinner for me. None of our friends wanted to leave either. (You can see a a few more photos of the boat here.)

I could imagine myself living and writing on a boat and just being creative in general. It was inspiring to be so close to water. And since we were in a harbor that was right next to all sorts of restaurants and stores, we also had everything we needed within a short walk. It was perfect.

While we only stayed on board for three nights, it was good. Really, really good, actually. Because the boat was a home with a big kitchen, bathroom with tub and living area on the top floor, it was comfortable. And then below, there were three bedrooms and another couch/living room area.

I could get used to that life. Anyone know of a houseboat for sale?

 

Stockholm Of course, life on board is pretty tough, as Aron and Tone demonstrate.

 

Stockholm And Roger had a tough time with the conditions, too. Stockholm “My captain” Robert gives the welcome aboard.

 

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Stockholm Celebrating my birthday on a boat in Stockholm.

 

Stockholm On deck: A champagne toast.

 

Stockholm More houseboat posing.

 

The thing with living in one country, being from another and having a husband from yet another one is that I always feel a bit divided. When I was in the US this summer, I was missing the long days of Swedish summer. When I am in Sweden in the winter, I absolutely crave time in Australia. Of course I always miss the family and friends who are not where I am. And so it goes.

All that said, I also feel extremely lucky to have three countries in the world where I feel at home. So while I was not able to have one big birthday party with family and friends all in one place, I did get to have a fantastic Mexican buffet dinner party in my parent’s backyard in Cincinnati with some of my family and friends. And Robert hosted an Italian dinner party for me on a houseboat in Stockholm. And having those two events feels pretty special.

In fact, I feel blessed beyond measure.

Cincinnati And here is a big group shot from the Cincinnati party.

 

Cincinnati My niece demonstrates a jump for joy.

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Ohio River The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge as seen from Cincinnati.

 

Cincinnati The Purple People Bridge as seen from Kentucky.

 

As long as I lived in Cincinnati, I never walked across one of the Ohio River bridges. Until now. With my nieces and nephews on a fun day to the Newport Aquarium recently, we decided we would take a bridge walk. From the aquarium, we walked across the Purple People Bridge back to Cincinnati.

After a stop to run through the fountains at Yeatman’s Cove and the Serpentine Wall, we then walked across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge.  This bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1866 and later served as a blueprint for the Brooklyn Bridge. To get back to the car, we took the trolley back to Cincinnati and then to Newport again. Then I drove us all home again across yet another bridge. It was a very “bridgey” day.

Ohio River My nieces and nephews strike a pose on the Purple People Bridge.

 

Ohio River John Roebling designed this bridge and then later created the even longer Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Ohio River The Cincinnati skyline.

 

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